The DeMatha Stagline

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The DeMatha Stagline

The DeMatha Stagline

Students show off some of the awards the brought back to Hyattsville from Myrtle Beach on the 2023 Music Trip.
Music Trip 2024
April 15, 2024

Overlooked to NBA Prospect: The Jahmir Young Story

Rogelio V. Solis/AP

“I’m just lucky I don’t have to play Jahmir Young anymore.” These were the post-game remarks Northwestern head coach Chris Collins gave after the Wildcats narrowly defeated Maryland 72-69 in January. Everyone understandably agreed with the comments. That night, Jahmir Young had 36 points and 5 assists. This was nothing new for him. Reversing back to his high school days at DeMatha, Young was known for his clutch nature. Whether it was being a key member of the 2018 WCAC-winning Stags or hitting a game-winner away from home against Iowa back in January, Young does it all. However, coming out of high school, many college scouts felt otherwise.

Growing up in the heart of Prince George’s County, the basketball capital of the DMV, Jahmir Young was introduced at an early age to basketball. Young frequently watched the NBA and idolized Prince George’s County native and DeMatha alum Victor Oladipo. Coming out of middle school, Young decided to attend St. Mary’s Ryken High School in Leonardstown, Maryland to ensure a better chance at starting as a freshman. However after a coaching change at the start of his junior year, Young elected to transfer to WCAC powerhouse DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. In his first season at DeMatha, Young and Justin Moore, the starting shooting guard for the Stags that year, helped lead the team to a 2018 WCAC title. In a thrilling championship game against fierce rivals Gonzaga, Young contributed 9 points in a narrow one-point win to capture the school’s first WCAC championship since 2011.

Although Young was a major contributor to a top-five nationally ranked school, recruitment was slow for him. At the start of his senior year, he had received minimal interest from power-five colleges. After putting together another successful season at DeMatha, where he was named to the WCAC All-Conference team and won the Maryland Private School Championship, recruiting was still slow for Jahmir. On October 27, 2018, Young ended up committing to Charlotte over teams such as Boston College, Old Dominion, Hofstra, and La Salle. With this move, Young wanted to prove everyone who doubted him wrong.

Young immediately made an impact at Charlotte. In his freshman season he started every game, averaging 12.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Young’s impressive debut at Charlotte won him Conference USA Freshman of the Year, and third-team All-Conference USA honors. Young stayed with the 49ers for two more seasons, during which he was the team’s leading scorer each year.  His success at Charlotte had him regarded him as one of, if not the best, mid-major college basketball guard.

Going into the 2022-23 NCAA college basketball season, the major talk of the sport was one thing, Name, Image & Likeness, also known as NIL. Name, Image & Likeness allowed NCAA athletes to receive financial compensation for their abilities while still being in college. Young, wanting to take advantage of this new opportunity, entered his name into the transfer portal. Young’s recruitment while in the transfer portal was completely opposite to his recruitment out of college. Young was rated by the top recruiting website, 247sports, as the #3 overall player in the transfer portal. Countless weeks after he entered his name into the portal, Jahmir Young officially committed to the University of Maryland on April 27, 2022.

Maryland basketball was going through a complete revamp of its program when Jahmir Young committed. They had just hired their new coach, Kevin Willard, who arrived after 12 years of building the Seton Hall basketball program into a conference contender every year. Willard had one goal in mind during his first year at the helm of the Terrapins, he wanted to bring swagger back to Maryland basketball. His vision of bringing swagger back to Maryland basketball was by recruiting the kids who grew up watching them, the high schoolers in the DMV. Maryland’s last coach, Mark Turgeon, controversially rarely recruited in the DMV for kids to play on his basketball team. Kevin Willard was the complete opposite. Acquiring Jahmir Young out of the transfer portal was a necessity for Kevin Willard. Not only was it big for Willard to rebuild the relationship with many DMV coaches, Young would be the first basketball player from DeMatha since Travis Garrison in 2006 to play for the University of Maryland’s basketball team. He knew that if Young pledged his commitment to the team, Maryland basketball was going to be good. Really good.

Although there was a lot of confidence inside the Maryland basketball program that the team would be good, the media disagreed. Maryland was predicted to finish 10th in the conference in the preseason poll. Also, Young only received four votes that predicted him to be on an All-Big Ten team, and all four of those votes had him on the third all-conference team. However, the doubters were quickly silenced as soon as Young hit the court. Young propelled Maryland to an impressive 8-0 start. These eight wins included victories over a Miami team that would make the Final Four that year and a win over #16 Illinois. In the game against Illinois, Young hit a game-clinching three with 15 seconds left to play. Young would continue his play for the rest of the season.

There was never an off-game for Jahmir Young. He always gave it his all, and he always succeeded. Maryland that season proved all the doubters wrong by finishing fifth in the conference and making it to the NCAA Tournament in year one of the Kevin Willard-era. In the Round of 64, Maryland narrowly edged out West Virginia to advance to the Round of 32. Although Maryland lost, it was still an amazing season not only for Maryland, but also for Jahmir Young, who finished that year by being named to the 2023 All-Big Ten 2nd Team. Although many speculated Young may enter his name into the 2023 NBA Draft, on March 28, 2023, Jahmir Young announced his return to the University of Maryland for the 2023-24 season. Young stated in his announcement, “I love Maryland. This is home.”

Although the current season of Maryland basketball has been underwhelming, with the team currently sitting 12th in the conference, Jahmir Young’s season has been far from underwhelming. After last year’s embarrassing loss at home by almost 30 to UCLA, Maryland had a chance to redeem themselves by traveling this season to Los Angeles to face the Bruins for round two. Young had a chip on his shoulder that game. He knew they were the only team to beat them at home last season. Young and the Terps had a bad taste in their mouths for nearly a year, itching for a rematch. When the Terps touched down in LA ready to battle, they didn’t disappoint. Jahmir Young that night exploded for a career-high 37 points, leading Maryland to a 69-60 win over UCLA.

For his incredible efforts over on the West Coast, Young was named Big Ten Player of the Week. However, his tear on the road wouldn’t end as he scored 36 points at Northwestern, 20 points at Minnesota, 28 points at #10 Illinois, and even 22 points plus a game-winning layup at Iowa. Currently, Young is leading the country in points per game against Quad 1 opponents on the road with 28 points per game. Young has been instrumental in Kevin Willard’s rebuild of the Maryland basketball program. He has racked up two Big Ten Player of the Week awards this season and has surpassed 1000 career points for Maryland in only 58 games. There is no doubt that when Jahmir Young’s career at Maryland ends after this season, he will go up as one of the greats in Maryland basketball history.

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